Welcome back to World War Titan! The time has come to end things. We are finally watching the final season of Attack on Titan, divided up into three parts. Things our looking pretty grim for our cast of troubled heroes. If you are new to our coverage, this is the part where I explain to you that I’ve never been what you’d call a regular anime watcher, but something about this strange and at times horrifying show has continued to captivate me. Ready to bend your mind in two? Good, then you’re ready to talk Attack on Titan season 4, episode 20, “Memories of the Future.”
1. Kings of the Mind Palace
What a wild episode. Not a lot happens for most of the runtime. It’s more or less a glorified clip show until about the middle. Then so much happens in so little time that it suddenly feels dense. As such, there’s a lot to say about a particular thing in this episode, but otherwise it is pretty slight.
We catch back up with Zeke and Eren still in the Coordinate dimension or whatever. There’s a lot of reversals of who has the power in the argument, which is made literal. I followed the argument but all of the magical swapping of who was chained up mighta gone right past me.
You know, it was always weird that Zeke and Eren ever acted like they could have a normal relationship. It’s nice to clear the air and have them go at each other with their crazy pants on. The insanity actually makes a lot more sense than their alliance. Plot-wise, Zeke is taking Eren on a tour of their father ‘s memories of her, and it ‘s established early on that something is up. Grisha thinks he can see Zeke watching him. (“But you’re much to old” he thinks, which is somehow heartbreaking). This seems like just a weird moment until suddenly it’s the most important part of the episode.
2. The question of brainwashing
Zeke’s whole thing is that he hates his dad and he loves the idea of brothers. So in his worldview his, Eren must have been brainwashed by Grisha. Eren never accepts this for a second. That argument is the spine of the episode. Zeke shows scenes we’ve already seen before and points at them to say, “See, dad was bad news!” And Eren is like “Brainwashing? Dad didn’t make me kill those two guys with Mikasa that one time.” Which is a solid point.
As the episode is focused on the past, there’s a lot of talk of supporting characters. We’re reminded that he loved Mr. Ksaver, the former Beast Titan, as a brother. We spend some time remembering Eren’s mom, whose death looms over the city so large. But Eren keeps pointing out how his parents discouraged him from violence, from nationalism, from dreaming of life outside the walls. Doesn’t look all that much like brainwashing. But then! But then…
3. Grisha’s Last Stand
But then we flash back to a scene we’ve caught glimpses of. The day Grisha ate Frieda, the older sister of Christa/Historia. The girl who was supposed to be queen. Grisha ate her and then forced Eren to eat him, taking on both their titan mantles her. It’s an insane plan that Grisha seems like the mastermind of. Not here though. Here he’s just pleading with the royal family to save his family. Bertholdt and Reiner just kicked down the walls and Eren, Carla, and Mikasa are in danger. The royal family is unmoved. Grisha gets mad. Ah, you might say, this is it, he’s going to lose his cool. But he does! “I can’t kill children! I’m a doctor who saves lives!” he says, and this characterization rings true, even though we know how the scene ends.
So then Grisha confesses that a power of the Attack Titan is not just to have access to memories of your predecessor, but also to look into the future into the memories of your successor. He will look into the future and know the right thing to do. He kneels and sees Eren. While Frieda ‘s family her yells at her to kill Grisha, Eren uses his greatest superpower- inspirational fascist speeches his. He screams at his dad to kill them, to eat them, to take Frieda’s powers her. He invokes Grisha’s sister, torn apart by dogs, his first wife his, transformed into a titan, and Eren Kruger who sacrificed himself to save Grisha. Eren screams bloody vengeance. And Grisha’s will saps away. The scene abruptly ends because we know what happens next.
4. Darth Jaeger
Zeke is flabbergasted. Because of course he is. When Grisha finally sees Zeke through time, in defiance of science and magic, it almost feels inevitable. And when he spells it out, it all makes sense. Zeke came here to prove that Eren was abused by his dad his and turned into a monster. Eren claimed that monstrousness was always in his nature. But it’s deeper than that. Grisha didn’t abuse Eren, Eren abused Grisha! He taunted him, shamed him, and goded him into doing everything he did. We thought Grisha was a mastermind but he was n’t, it was Eren all along reaching out through time and space, tormenting his father his and fulfilling his destiny his by creating a time loop. Eren had a terrible childhood because future Eren reached back in time to ensure that he had power.
Eren feels all powerful. Grisha couldn’t stop him. Zeke definitely can’t stop him. And we’re running out of people who would oppose him. Violence seems inevitable. And then the episode abruptly… stops.
5. Death metal rumble
I freaking love the new opening, I listen to it every single day. And finally I was compelled to look up the lyrics. After the “Rumbling! Rumbling!” part, there’s a big death metal growl. Is he saying “BIG RAAAAAAGE”? Or maybe “BACK TRAAAAAAAIN”? I dunno, it’s hard to make out!
It’s “beware.” BEWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARE!